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English Literature Commentary

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Stephanie Hung Wendel English Literature (IB6) 4 November, 2007 I will be using Bei Dao's poem "Recollection" to demonstrate how his use of imagery and writing style can give a 'simple' poem written during a time of political turmoil in China during the 1970's can have so much more in depth meaning as well as how his poetry baffles critics. The title of the poem, 'Recollection', suggests to readers an act of remembrance or reminiscence of something, someone, or a sequence of events that Bei Dao wants/hopes to elaborate and tell his readers about. Here, the title of the poem does not indicate a simple reminiscence, but serving a far deeper meaning and purpose as well as a grasp of experience. One is unable to analyze and understand exactly why Bei Dao uses 'Recollection' as a title, as the title acts as a form of teasing and attraction for the reader to follow through and read the powerful words which are written down word for word; hear and visualize the imagery that is created within. ...read more.


poet has come into contact with are those who are true people, people who are unable to be contained and still have their own free thoughts, feelings as well as emotions; the unrealistic and imaginative part being the Chinese government that was reshaping and reforming its people in hope that all would think like a Maoist where freedom of thought, speech, etc was suppressed. Here, the poet, Bei Dao is simply arguing that suppression of thought, speech, freedom, etc... are unrealistic achievements that the government is pressing for, for they will never succeed. Directly following the use of visual imagery, after the fifth line in the poem, one might notice how the imagery and tone, shifts in a very smooth, eloquent, and contained matter. 'the guitar hanging from the wall / begins to sound in the darkness / like the masthead light reflected in water / stealing whispers'. Like the first five lines previously discussed, the use of imagery is crucial, however instead of using just visual imagery here, Bei Dao adds in sound. ...read more.


Although the first five lines of the poem is focused on the visual images that briefly gives its readers an understanding of what he, as a poet is trying to express in his own words, mind-set, and understanding towards society/things from his own experience; one can see how the visual images tie in with sound, creating an even more dramatic and strong emotional effect, just like his encounters with people during the time of the Chinese revolution when China was a Maoist society where people were being forced into suppression. Bei Dao's tactic and use of visual imagery ties in with sound to create and tell a story of what he had experienced, along with the millions of other Chinese, as he uses 'Recollection' to represent not only himself who suffered, but all citizens. Here, Bei Dao uses the creativity, tone, language, trope and theme of this poem to emphasize and be a representative of all the people who were stuck in a Maoist society, as he states the peoples capacity for freedom and their uprising and realization that suppression is acknowledged, however not and will never be achieved. Word Count: 1,112 ?? ?? ?? ?? Hung 1 ...read more.

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